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MotoGP, Rider market, the last picture show: Mir looks for an exit route from Honda

Joan is reported to have put himself forward to the Gresini team to get on the Ducati. If the Majorcan leaves HRC, Lecuona would return to MotoGP, but it wouldn't be certain in which team

MotoGP, Rider market, the last picture show: Mir looks for an exit route from Honda
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The rider transfer market for 2024 is taking a long time to come to a definitive end, even though day by day it is taking on a definitive form. In some cases, we just have to wait for the official announcements, such as for Bezzecchi who will remain in the VR46 team and for Morbidelli who is destined to join Pramac. Speaking of Italian riders and teams, they might even think of waiting for the home GP at Misano for the appropriate communications.

Once that knot has been resolved, another one remains to be unravelled and it is the one that concerns the only seat still vacant at the moment: that of the Gresini team. Just a few weeks ago it seemed that Di Giannantonio's days in MotoGP were over, but the market sometimes reserves surprises.

Tony Arbolino put himself forward for that Ducati but, in the absence of an answer that was slow in coming, he preferred to stay in Moto2, renewing his contract with the Marc VDS team for another year. Another option on the table was that of Jake Dixon, pushed by Dorna who could use a British rider in the premier class when it comes to renewing television rights in the United Kingdom. A country that seems to be falling out of love with MotoGP, so much so that the recent Silverstone race wasn't even broadcast live. Even that operation, however, led to nothing and yesterday the extension of the collaboration for 2024 between Jake and the Aspar team was announced.

At this point, there aren't many alternatives on the horizon for the Gresini team. Or rather, there is one and it would be sensational. Carlo Pernat had anticipated it in our Bar Sport (you can watch the episode here above): Joan Mir is in fact reported to have offered himself to Nadia Padovani's team. Something that seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, with the Majorcan an official Honda rider, would now see him switch to a private team with an outdated bike, but times have changed.

Since he got on the RC213V, Joan hasn't been able to get out of the rabbit hole: just think that he has 5 points in the standings and in the long race he has only seen the finish line once, in Portimao. Right now, talking about a crisis is almost an understatement for him. So much so that, as Mir himself confirmed, there was a moment when he even thought about retiring.

Getting on a Ducati could be the cure for his ills, as happened to Alex Marquez, who went from sulking in 2022 to smiling (accompanied by pole position, podium and even a sprint victory) in 2023.

The mere fact of knocking on Gresini's door doesn't mean that he will enter, but if that were to happen, what would Honda do? With Zarco in its ranks, everything is simpler, because it would only have one place to fill and already the right man to do it: Iker Lecuona, who has been riding more MotoGP than SBK lately.

If anything, the doubt is about dove tailing everything together. The tradition of the official HRC team is to have world-class riders, with very few exceptions. Like Nicky Hayden (who had however won the then AMA championship), Alex Barros and Toru Ukawa. If they really wanted to continue along this line, then they should 'promote' Zarco with his two Moto2 titles. Lecuona, however, has an ace up his sleeve: that of having won the Suzuka 8 Hours for Honda last year, a race that is worth a lot for the Japanese.

The Japanese management like Iker, he's a hard worker and doesn't complain too much. He would be a perfect 'second' to Marquez (when the Honda becomes competitive again) and he would agree to a one-year contract.

For the moment these are mere possibilities, but the last pieces of the puzzle will have to slot into position quickly. In Barcelona or at the latest Misano, everything will be decided.

 

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